August 15, 2017

August Item of the Month for OCC~ School Supplies

Samaritan's Purse has suggested items of the month for packing Operation Christmas Child, and for August it's school supplies...which works out really well since there are so many great deals on them right now!

While this may seem like a more boring, practical item to us, one recipient said: 


“My favorite items in my shoebox were school supplies. They were really important to me because it meant I could go to school.”
–Luis, Panama

In many countries children cannot go to school with out supplies, which their parents cannot always afford.  So, you may really be giving schooling to the child and a brighter future!  And it doesn't have to be boring, there are many colorful, decorative options!

Here's some great stories of  how special school supplies were to the recipients:

If you're wondering how to fit a full sized notebook in a box, check out our post Fitting a Spiral Notebook in an OCC Go Shoebox.

Also, if you're wondering about which brand of some back to school items to buy, here are some reviews we've written you may find helpful:



Shoebox stories: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/shoebox-stories-index/


Photos Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

August 14, 2017

American White Cross Adhesive Bandages from MDSupplies & Services review



  MDSupplies & Services has helpfully made us who pack for shoeboxes a special  order form of just items that can go in shoeboxes...plus it has FREE SHIPPING!!!  They've helpfully arranged for me to test and review some of the products on the order form to help myself and others decide about possibly ordering them.  This review is for American White Cross Tonka - Hasbro Adhesive Bandages, 3/4" x 3" from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form.
text.  These are sold in a case of 1,200 (12 boxes of 100 each) for $46.61 which works out to about 4 cents a bandage.  The have  "Long lasting adhesive. Comes with the preferred and patented Stat Strip easy opening wrapper that nurses request."  They are very bright and colorful!  I stuck one on my arm and it wasn't too painful to get off.  I'm not too sure how well it would stick for a long-term use, but certainly fun!

I hope this review helps someone...if you have any further questions, please just ask and you may want to check out the rest of my MD Supplies & Services Reviews.


Disclaimer: I received these products free to review, but the opinions are all my own.  

Happy Packing!

August 13, 2017

Fitting a Spiral Notebook in an OCC Go Shoebox

One important thing to send in shoeboxes is school supplies.   One thing we always like to include with that, is lined paper.  One of the most cost effective and substantial ways to include that is with a spiral notebook.  There's even a great story about recipients and their notebooks: Shanika & Sherika -and- the Notebooks.   However...it can be hard to figure out how to make them fit, but once you know the trick, it's pretty easy.  There are actually two schools of thought.

August 8, 2017

Children's Coloring Book from MDSupplies & Services review

Childrens Coloring Books (CB01) from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form.     MDSupplies & Services has helpfully made us who pack for shoeboxes a special  order form of just items that can go in shoeboxes...plus it has FREE SHIPPING!!!

Today I'm sharing about their coloring books.  They are sold in a case of 600 for $118.59 which works out to about 20 cents a piece.  They are 5 by 7 inches, and 8 sheets and 16 pages/images in total.  They feel sturdy, like the child could carry it around for a while until they colored it all, and it would hold together just fine!  The pages feel like they are rough enough to take color well, but not too rough.   It's a little smaller than I would send by itself as the only coloring thing, but would be great for  The Pencil Granny & Friends pencil packs.  Or in addition to some plain paper.  That's how I'm excited to use them-I normally only have budget & space for plain paper in my 10-14 girl shoeboxes, but these will fit in great flat on the bottom.  In the product description it says the product may vary from image, so you may not get the exact same design/images, but the book I got was SUPER CUTE!  I just fell in love with it!  As the images have decent amount of detail I think they'd be great for the older kids with colored pencils.

I hope this review helps someone...if you have any further questions, please just ask and you may want to check out the rest of my MD Supplies & Services Reviews.


Disclaimer: I received these products free to review, but the opinions are all my own. 

 Happy Packing!

July 27, 2017

Pencil reviews

One thing we always pack in our shoeboxes is pencils.  At one time we thought about stopping sending them in the youngest age group as they might not be in school yet, then we heard from the parents of a recipient in that age group who specifically mentioned being grateful for the school supplies as their daughter was starting school soon.  I've read in many countries children are not allowed to attend school without supplies.  If you'd like to read more about the importance of pencils/school supplies in shoeboxes, check out the Pencil Granny & Friends Facebook page!  There is a great variety of pencil types, prices, etc.  How to know which kind(s) to pick?  It's been a few years since I was in college and used pencils much...at the time I wasn't too picky about kinds, except sometimes for scan-tron sheets.  I have heard people express concerns about different kinds.  So, we decided to test some various brands for ourselves to see what we liked/thought would work well.  We try not to send things we wouldn't use ourselves.   So, we pulled out all the different kinds we had on hand.  We had:  Dollar General holiday, Dollar Tree holiday, Kid Fun  Fun (bought from USToy), Children Favorite Pencil (bought at Mighty Dollar), Paper Magic Group (VDay kit), iMagine (Dollar General back-to-school time), and Office Depot Brand.


When laid side by side there were some slight differences noted such as overall length.


The metal parts and erasers were also different sizes, but nothing major.  Note, I didn't test the erasers as I personally always send an extra eraser, and I also want to still send these pencils for shoeboxes, just sharpened, but couldn't do that if I used the erasers.


All the pencils seemed to sharpen pretty well when we tested them with a hand sharpener, some had a little peeling of the decorative coating, but nothing too major, although I have seen that once or twice, not sure if it was a glitch, or normal, but all of these were okay.


We tested writing and shading with all the pencils.  We found they were pretty similar for the most part.  The Dollar Tree one was a little scratchy to write with, but it also stayed sharp the best, so may actually be my favorite to send for that reason.  The iMagine (Dollar General) ones were the nicest to write with, but were the hardest to keep sharp.

All in all, we'd personally use any of these for ourselves, so will probably just pick based on price/what we can find to send in shoeboxes.  However, I do plan to try to mix the kinds in each shoebox since there were slight differences, and I feel some like the iMagine seem easier to write with, while the Dollar Tree ones may last longer, and different people prefer different kinds, and so will the children receiving them.

For the reviews of more kinds, you can check out this post I found: Review of Five Very Cheap Yellow Pencils.

Disclaimer:  Please note, this is just our personal text/experience with these brands of pencils we tested for our personal information and decided to share in hopes it could help others who didn't have the chance to do it for themselves.  I realize others will have different opinions, experiences, preferences,  and considerations, this is just what we found and are sharing to try to help others.

Happy Packing!

July 24, 2017

Nail Brush from MDSupplies & Services review

Today I have a review for you of  Nail Brush, Purple Handle, white nylon bristles (NB3381) from MDSupplies & Service's special Shoebox Shoppers order form.     MDSupplies & Services has helpfully made us who pack for shoeboxes a special  order form of just items that can go in shoeboxes...plus it has FREE SHIPPING!!!

These brushes are $7.62 for 50 brushes, so about 15 cents a piece.

I try to include basic hygiene supplies in my shoeboxes, and when I saw this nail brush I thought it might be a fun thing to consider adding.  If the kids are working or playing in the dirt much, it could help them clean under their nails and decrease the risk of infection.  I decided the easiest and best way to test it would be to just use it.  So, one day after I worked in the garden, I came in and tried it.  It worked great!  It was easy to hold by sticking the fingers of one had through the loops, then cleaning the nails of the other.  It's not very big (they are about 2.5 inches long, and 1.5 inches long-the brush area itself is about 1.75 by .25 inches), but plenty big enough to do the job.  My nails quite quickly looked pretty good!  And, unlike others I remember using, the bristles were soft enough that it wasn't particularly uncomfortable.

I hope this review helps someone...if you have any further questions, please just ask and you may want to check out the rest of my MD Supplies & Services Reviews.

Disclaimer: I received these products free to review, but the opinions are all my own. 

Happy Packing!
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